How to unleash creativity in your organisation

Gurjit Degun
6 October 2014

Procurement professionals should use visual triggers as a way to boost creativity, the CIPS Annual Conference was told last week.

Clive Lewis, founder and managing director at Illumine Training, told delegates creativity is “essential to an organisation’s long-term success”.

His five tips to improve creativity were:

Understand creativity. Lewis said many people have a tendency to see things the same way they always have, so looking at things differently can help. He explained it helps to “do something different deliberately to gain a new perspective”.

Use the power of ‘could’. Delegates heard they need to entertain new possibilities by using the right language. “The biggest mistake is to combine convergent thinking and divergent thinking,” said Lewis. He explained buyers should think about all the possibilities for a situation, and entertain all ideas even if they can see a problem with them. He advised professionals to think about what they could do in a particular situation, rather than what they would do.

Search for associations. Lewis encouraged people to use visual stimuli, listen out for others’ ideas and thoughts, and use 'mind maps'. He said that association is key to creativity. “This is partly about attitude – actively looking for how one thing could relate to something else – and partly about using deliberate techniques to do so,” he said.

Deliberately provoke. Lewis used a picture of elephant to explain how professionals can change the way they think about a situation. He asked delegates: “How is your job like an elephant?” The process helps to stimulate different perspectives.

Reverse first. Lewis asked delegates to consider the worst-case scenario for a situation, and then use reverse thinking to create positive solutions. “Use the negative ideas as a basis for making something better by changing them, allowing ideas in and staying with ‘could’ thinking,” he said.

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